This new Flinders Lane wine bar from Jessi Singh specialises in Indian snacks, juicy cocktails and cheap lunchtime thalis.
It's been just over six months since Melbourne scored its last offering from renowned chef Jessi Singh. Last June, he opened colourful, unconventional Indian joint Daughter In Law and, the year before that, his eatery Don't Tell Aunty landed in Sydney's Surry Hills. Now, the restaurateur — who originally co-founded other hits including Horn Please, Kyneton's Dhaba at The Mill and Babu Ji in Melbourne and NYC — has opened a new wine bar and boutique booze store on Flinders Lane.
Sticking with the family theme, this latest venue has been named Mrs Singh. It feels a little more grown up than its siblings — but it just as playful. Sporting a mix of textures and colours, diners are met with a heady vision of orange panelling, blue marbled flooring, rich reds, green velvet, a terrazzo-topped bar and striking gold accents throughout the 65-seat space. Singh fans will be familiar with the soundtrack of party jams and rotation of retro Bollywood flicks projected on the wall.
Drinks are the main game here, led by a 300-strong wine list from award-winning sommelier Dheeraj Bhatia (Sydney's Est.). A produce-driven cocktail lineup stars sips like the signature Mrs Singh — a fusion of mezcal, beetroot, Aperol, agave, lime and black salt — and the Coco Bunny which, with carrot juice, turmeric, ginger and gin, is basically boozy breakfast juice. A roving champagne trolley amps up the luxury and there's even a retail selection of beers and wines available to take home, complete with suggested picks.
On weekdays, the bar is open for lunch, serving a simple menu of two $25 thalis: one vegetarian and one with butter chicken, rogan josh and goat curry. After work, though, the menu opens up to a longer list of drinking-optimised plates after-hours. You might find yourself tucking into flaky paratha bread with mango, chilli and 15-month comté, a lobster roll teamed with curry chips, or some sweet and spicy cauliflower. Scallop ceviche is done with lashings of coconut and chilli, and the tandoor oven pumps out serves of chicken, prawn and paneer. Or you can always settle in with the chef's selection menu for an easy $75 per person and free up more time to spend on that drinks list.
Images: Peter Tarasiuk.